Published on August 14, 2019

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Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

For Midwest native Sarah Sherman Samuel, summer is synonymous with warm nights spent outdoors around a good old-fashioned firepit. “Maybe it’s a Michigan thing,” she says. “We grew up with one. We’d have s’mores, roast marshmallows, and sit by the fire at night because it stays warm so late and you just want to be outside.”

So when she relocated her family from sunny Los Angeles to her home state, a firepit was number one on her agenda. “It just feels like it’s a good place to gather and quiet down,” shares the designer. And a wooded area of her backyard was just the right space to relive her childhood memories. With the help of her dad and husband, Samuel cleared out a few trees and got to work. 

Within one weekend, she was roasting marshmallows with her kids just like she did with her parents when she was young. Here, she shares the four steps to creating the ultimate backyard bonfire.

What You’ll Need:

Step 1: Prep Your Area

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Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

Clear away any debris and make sure the ground is completely leveled. To mark the circle where you want the firepit to go, put a stake in the ground at the center and tie a string to it. Stretch the string out to use it as a giant compass to draw a circle in the dirt, keeping the string taught as you walk around the stake. 

Step 2: Do Some Digging

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Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

Excavate the circle to the thickness of the stones, plus one inch. Compact the dirt base with a tamper. Add and tamp down a one-inch layer of sand into the circle. 

Step 3: Pave by Numbers

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Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

The paver kit we used included a diagram that illustrated the number and types of pavers per row. Begin from the center and work outward, following the instructions. 

Step 4: Dust It All Off

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Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

When the circle is complete, install the edging. To finish, pour sand over the entire circle. Use a broom to brush it around, filling in all the cracks between the pavers. Sweep off excess. Then add your firepit and accent furniture and get the s’mores ready!

See more outdoor decor tips:
Sarah Sherman Samuel’s Breezy New Porch Has the Coolest Floors
Sarah Sherman Samuel Just Redid Her Backyard—And It’s Full of CB2 Finds
7 Chairs You’ll Actually Want to Bring to the Beach

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